Iu Mien in China

Iu Mien
Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Iu Mien
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,291,000
World Population: 1,677,500
Primary Language: Iu Mien
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.70 %
Evangelicals: 0.15 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Yao-Mien
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Iu Mien have a long history of fleeing oppression. This explains why the Chinese sometimes call them the Guoshan (Crossing the Mountains) Yao. Linguist Herbert Purnell explains, "The Iu Mien have been profoundly influenced by the Chinese over many centuries of contact. Perhaps the most significant development from these contacts has been the evolution and preservation of Taoist rituals written in Chinese characters. The Iu Mien have therefore possessed for several centuries what many other Asian peoples only dream of, an extensive written literature."

The Iu Mien are the largest of the groups who form the official Yao nationality in China. This group calls themselves Iu Mien or simply Mien, but in China they are widely known by their Chinese name Pan Yao. Little was known about this isolated group until recent years.

The Iu Mien language is remarkably uniform considering the wide dispersion of its speakers. In 1987, Iu Mien able to speak their language numbered 692,000. The remainder now speak Chinese.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Han Chinese call the Iu Mien Pan Yao after their legendary ancestor and pioneer of the Yao people, Pan Hu. Pan can be traced in historical Chinese records as far back as the fifth century AD. The Chronicles of the Later Han Dynasty ("Hou Han Shu") "tells the story of Pan Hu, the pet dog of Emperor Gao Xin (2435-2365 BC) who killed his lord's arch-enemy, General Wu, the chief of the Quan Rong tribe. The dog was rewarded by marrying a young princess." Their descendants, known as Pan Hu, became the forefathers of the Iu Mien. At some time the Imperial Court issued The King Ping's Charter. This proclamation was designed to reward the Yao by perpetually releasing them from paying taxes.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Iu Mien are Daoists who also worship their ancestors. They believe Pan created the heavens and the earth. "After the death of King Pan the feudal court allowed his descendants to worship and make a picture of him with human features."

Although one source estimates 10,000 Iu Mien/Yao Christians in China, the true number is probably much lower. In recent years, at least 1,000 "Red Head" Yao (an Iu Mien group) living in Jinping County, Yunnan Province, have come to Christ because of FEBC gospel radio broadcasts in their language.

What Are Their Needs?

Without the guidance of Christ, these people will be lost in this life and the life to come. They need someone to go to them as Christ-bearers.

Prayer Points

Pray for the spiritual blindness and bondage to the evil one to be removed so they can understand and respond to Christ.

Pray for the Lord to provide for their physical and spiritual needs as a testimony of his power and love.

Pray that the Iu Mien people will have a spiritual hunger that will open their hearts to the King of kings.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.

Text Source:   Joshua Project